What a glorious day of bird watching today has been! Ten hours of watching a whole cavalcade of birds, and all from within the comfort of my bedroom. How was that possible you might ask? Here is the story.
7.00 a.m.- I return visibly excited from a bird watching session having spotted a pair of Jerdon’s leaf birds and an orange headed thrush for the first time from my terrace since the last two years
7.30 a.m.- I peep from my bedroom window at the bunch of ripening bananas, and wonder if I should leave it there for the birds. Just then a female Asian koel in all her black and white party paraphernalia lands on the banana tree. Now she is quite a large bird, and feasts on all the ripe bananas on the top of the bunch. She stays at it for over an hour.
8.30 a.m.- How much can a bird eat in any case, I think. She appears stuffed, but doesn’t leave the bunch of bananas, sitting on guard. She stretches her wings, sharpens her beak, appears a little lethargic, but doesn’t fly away. I find it strange, as by now we are all talking loudly and making lots of noise with my camera clicks. Koels always prefer to hide in thick foliage. I have never seen them openly sit with humans for company.
A little tailor bird tiptoes on a twig, trying to reach the fragrant bananas. The koel scares it away. The tailor bird makes several brave attempts, trying all stealth techniques including reaching for the lower level fruit, but is sadly unsuccessful.
9.00 a.m- The Jerdon’s leaf birds, which look exactly like the green bananas hover around, as if it was their right to have those bananas. I haven’t seen one for ages, and now I have the pleasure of watching them mimic every possible bird in the vicinity. But now, the rowdy koel doesn’t allow them any where near the bananas.
10.30 a.m.. By now, the news of the ripe bananas seems to have spread through the bird kingdom. So there are purple sun birds, Brahminy starlings, red-vented bulbuls, Indian robins, Oriental Magpie robins, common mynahs and all sorts of small birds, flying in and flying out. But Madame Koel has decided to rule. No one gets anywhere near the fruit. Until an enterprising group of jungle babblers decides to go into attack mode. But the large koel shooes them off successfully.
12 noon- At lunch, I sense that she will give up her fight as it is blazing hot. And what do I see, but another Asian koel. This one is a female too. Will she relent to share her food with another of her own species? No! The selfish koel, fights aggressively till the newcomer flies away. She sits on the banana bunch as if to own it.
3 p.m.- Every possible bird has tried to get a share of the fruit. But she guards the fruit possessively. I have seen an elusive white browed bulbul and a large greater coucal in the process. All unsuccessful. The leaf bird makes several tries.
5.30 p.m.- The sun is beginning to set, and finally the koel flies away. The leaf bird finally gets to enjoy the banana feast after a full 10 hours of trying! But what a feast for my eyes! Such variety of feathered friends!